Silves the former Moorish capital of the Algarve, Portugal
The origin of this town traces back to some 1.000 BC and it was already a notable place in Roman times. During the Moorish occupation in the early 11th Century it was given the name of Xelb.
Silves, as well as much of the region has been inhabited for many centuries, having been home to Romans, Phoenicians and Celts, among others, although the city itself reached its peak during Moorish rule, becoming the capital of the Algarve.
Located in the central Algarve, Silves council has several parishes: Silves, São Bartolomeu de Messines, Algoz, Alcantarilha, Armação de Pêra, Pêra, São Marcos da Serra and Tunes. Each one with its own unique qualities, sights and scenery.
To see a little more about Silves, please click on the video below:
The remains of the Moorish castle are still impressive, and the huge underground water reservoir is still used by the city today. An archaeological museum has been constructed above this cistern showing local objects including items from the Stone Age. The Ponte Romana, a stone bridge over the Rio Arcade was rebuilt in the 15th Century from the original erected during the Roman occupation. On the site of a Mosque the Cathedral was built in the 13th Century and suffered significant alteration over the time.
The imposing Moorish castle of Silves, Built by the Almoravid Arabs in the 11th century, is today a popular place for leisure and recreation, although it still serves as a distinct reminder of the grandeur of the art of the Muslims, reflecting the splendour attained by the Islamic civilisation in the Algarve. It is the ideal space for enjoying a trip into the Portuguese past and for appreciating the fabulous view over the city, countryside and the River Arade below, from what is surely the most beautiful vantage point in Silves. Having been classified as a national monument since 1910, Silves Castle is today the largest, most important and best conserved castle in the Algarve.
This is one of the visits that you cannot afford to miss, as it is a trip that is filled with fragments of history and traces of the Moorish presence, allowing you to imagine just what life in the castle must have been like some ten centuries ago.
The tumulous city of yesterday is today a quiet market town surrounded by the largest orange growing area in Portugal. Cork is processed locally. North to the fertile valleys is an area of attractive forest covered hills leading to the mountains of Monchique. The dams of Arade and Foz are well worth visiting for the beauty of their natural setting.
There are a variety of property options available in the Silves council, from quaint traditional Portuguese farm houses and B&B's to modern apartments with sea views and coutryside villas.